First Look: Microsoft Lumia 950

Thanks to Microsoft, I’ve been testing the new Lumia 950 this week. As tends to be the case with technology these days, there’s too many innovative components to give just a single-page review and expect it to get adequate coverage. Case in point: when the Surface Book’s first released, pre-release testing by bloggers gave such glowing reviews you thought Microsoft had crafted the perfect laptop. Now a month and a few firmware updates later and some of those same bloggers are backtracking.

I learned an all important lesson recently after testing and reviewing the Lenovo Yoga 900. A proper review takes time. If I had given the Yoga a once-over and started writing, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with it. Those that try to be the first to release a review after an embargo is lifted aren’t doing a product or the vendor justice. So, just as I did with the Yoga 900, I’m taking a more responsible approach to ensure you get what you need from a review of what I believe is a pretty monumental piece of hardware. Granted, I personally can't live with the form factor (even the smaller 950 is too large for me), but the technology is solid. So, I’ll be picking apart each innovative piece of the 950 and delivering a review for each component over the next week or so.

The Lumia 950 series seems like it might be Microsoft’s last stand. Testing the 950, sadly I feel like I’m writing an epitaph instead of a review. I fear that the 950 will be stillborn, and if so, would be a truly sad moment in the technology timeline as it represents some significant technology innovations. Continuum on its own (I’ll cover this separately) is a major achievement at something I’ve been hoping for since the early 1990’s. I fear that somehow the message about how important Continuum capability is will get drowned-out by the app-gap, and Apple will have to “reinvent” it in a couple years’ time before it can go mainstream.

Again, that’s why I believe taking time with this review is important. I don’t want miss anything. Microsoft has packed a lot of goodness into the 950 series, bringing together a lot of the best of earlier models and infusing some great innovation. People need to know about this and a single-page, cursory review like what was attached to the Surface Book will not adequately get the word out.

So, watch for the review series. But, to start out, I’m giving you a first-look through the gallery above.

And, here’s the full specs of what I’m been testing…

Microsoft Lumia 950

  • Operating System = Windows 10
  • Exterior = Dimensions: 145 x 73.2 x 8.25 mm; Weight: 150 g; Casing: polycarbonate; Colors: black, white; Physical buttons: power, volume, camera
  • Storage = 32 GB and up to 200 GB of expandable storage; OneDrive storage
  • Display = Screen: 5.2-inch Quad HD AMOLED Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display; Resolution: 2560x1440 (564 ppi); Aspect ratio: 16:9; Touch: Multitouch
  • CPU = Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor featuring Hexa-core CPUs and 64-bit support capabilities
  • Network = Wi-Fi: MIMO, WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.1
  • Battery = Removable 3000mAh battery, USB-C fast charging, wireless charging
  • Battery life = Standby: 275; Wi-Fi browsing: 9.5; 2G talk: 23.0; 3G talk: 18.0; MP3 playback: 67.0; Video playback 1080p: 10.0
  • Cameras = Rear-facing PureView camera with 20MP sensor, Zeiss optics, OIS, triple LED natural flash and 4K video recording; 5MP wide-angle 1080p front-facing camera
  • Ports = microSD slot, supports up to 200 GB of expandable storage USB-C charging port for data, AV connectivity and charging 3.5mm stereo headset connector
  • Sensors = Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, Barometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Proximity sensor
  • Power supply = Microsoft USB-C Fast Charger (AC-100)
  • Location = A-GLONASS, A-GPS, Barometer, Cellular, Wi-Fi network positioning, Gyroscope
  • In the box = Lumia 950, 3000 mAh battery, Microsoft USB-C Fast Charger (AC-100), Microsoft USB-C Cable (CA-232CD), Quick Guide
  • Preloaded = Creative Studio, Gadgets, Lumia Help+Tips, MixRadio, Photos Add-ins, Transfer my Data
  • Warranty = One-year limited hardware warranty

Display Dock (for Continuum)

  • Dimensions = Thickness: 64.1 mm; Width: 64.1 mm; Length: 25.6 mm; Weight: 230 g; Cable length: 100 cm
  • Connectivity = Charging connectors: USB-C; AV connectors: DisplayPort, HDMI Connector; System connectors: DisplayPort over USB-C; USB: 2 x USB 2.0, USB 2.0 high current charging port; Content protection: High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) 1.2/1.4
  • Power = Charger input current: 3000 mA; Charger output current: 2000 Ma; Charter output voltage: 5.0 V
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